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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Atypical antipsychotics for disruptive behaviour disorders in children and youths

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2017
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (90th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (62nd percentile)

Mentioned by

33 tweeters
5 Facebook pages
2 Wikipedia pages


37 Dimensions

Readers on

396 Mendeley
Atypical antipsychotics for disruptive behaviour disorders in children and youths
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd008559.pub3
Pubmed ID

Jik H Loy, Sally N Merry, Sarah E Hetrick, Karolina Stasiak


This is an update of the original Cochrane Review, last published in 2012 (Loy 2012). Children and youths with disruptive behaviour disorders may present to health services, where they may be treated with atypical antipsychotics. There is increasing usage of atypical antipsychotics in the treatment of disruptive behaviour disorders. To evaluate the effect and safety of atypical antipsychotics, compared to placebo, for treating disruptive behaviour disorders in children and youths. The aim was to evaluate each drug separately rather than the class effect, on the grounds that each atypical antipsychotic has different pharmacologic binding profile (Stahl 2013) and that this is clinically more useful. In January 2017, we searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, five other databases and two trials registers. Randomised controlled trials of atypical antipsychotics versus placebo in children and youths aged up to and including 18 years, with a diagnosis of disruptive behaviour disorders, including comorbid ADHD. The primary outcomes were aggression, conduct problems and adverse events (i.e. weight gain/changes and metabolic parameters). The secondary outcomes were general functioning, noncompliance, other adverse events, social functioning, family functioning, parent satisfaction and school functioning. We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. Two review authors (JL and KS) independently collected, evaluated and extracted data. We used the GRADE approach to assess the quality of the evidence. We performed meta-analyses for each of our primary outcomes, except for metabolic parameters, due to inadequate outcome data. We included 10 trials (spanning 2000 to 2014), involving a total of 896 children and youths aged five to 18 years. Bar two trials, all came from an outpatient setting. Eight trials assessed risperidone, one assessed quetiapine and one assessed ziprasidone. Nine trials assessed acute efficacy (over four to 10 weeks); one of which combined treatment with stimulant medication and parent training. One trial was a six-month maintenance trial assessing symptom recurrence.The quality of the evidence ranged from low to moderate. Nine studies had some degree of pharmaceutical support/funding. Primary outcomesUsing the mean difference (MD), we combined data from three studies (238 participants) in a meta-analysis of aggression, as assessed using the Aberrant Behaviour Checklist (ABC) ‒ Irritability subscale. We found that youths treated with risperidone show reduced aggression compared to youths treated with placebo (MD -6.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) -8.79 to -4.19; low-quality evidence). Using the standardised mean difference (SMD), we pooled data from two risperidone trials (190 participants), which used different scales: the Overt Aggression Scale ‒ Modified (OAS-M) Scale and the Antisocial Behaviour Scale (ABS); as the ABS had two subscales that could not be combined (reactive and proactive aggression), we performed two separate analyses. When we combined the ABS Reactive subscale and the OAS-M, the SMD was -1.30 in favour of risperidone (95% CI -2.21 to -0.40, moderate-quality evidence). When we combined the ABS Proactive subscale and OAS-M, the SMD was -1.12 (95% CI -2.30 to 0.06, moderate-quality evidence), suggesting uncertainty about the estimate of effect, as the confidence intervals overlapped the null value. In summary, there was some evidence that aggression could be reduced by risperidone. Data were lacking on other atypical antipsychotics, like quetiapine and ziprasidone, with regard to their effects on aggression.We pooled data from two risperidone trials (225 participants) in a meta-analysis of conduct problems, as assessed using the Nisonger Child Behaviour Rating Form ‒ Conduct Problem subscale (NCBRF-CP). This yielded a final mean score that was 8.61 points lower in the risperidone group compared to the placebo group (95% CI -11.49 to -5.74; moderate-quality evidence).We investigated the effect on weight by performing two meta-analyses. We wanted to distinguish between the effects of antipsychotic medication only and the combined effect with stimulants, since the latter can have a counteracting effect on weight gain due to appetite suppression. Pooling two trials with risperidone only (138 participants), we found that participants on risperidone gained 2.37 kilograms (kg) more (95% CI 0.26 to 4.49; moderate-quality evidence) than those on placebo. When we added a trial where all participants received a combination of risperidone and stimulants, we found that those on the combined treatment gained 2.14 kg more (95% CI 1.04 to 3.23; 3 studies; 305 participants; low-quality evidence) than those on placebo. Secondary outcomesOut of the 10 included trials, three examined general functioning, social functioning and parent satisfaction. No trials examined family or school functioning. Data on non-compliance/attrition rate and other adverse events were available from all 10 trials. There is some evidence that in the short term risperidone may reduce aggression and conduct problems in children and youths with disruptive behaviour disorders There is also evidence that this intervention is associated with significant weight gain.For aggression, the difference in scores of 6.49 points on the ABC ‒ Irritability subscale (range 0 to 45) may be clinically significant. It is challenging to interpret the clinical significance of the differential findings on two different ABS subscales as it may be difficult to distinguish between reactive and proactive aggression in clinical practice. For conduct problems, the difference in scores of 8.61 points on the NCBRF-CP (range 0 to 48) is likely to be clinically significant. Weight gain remains a concern.Caution is required in interpreting the results due to the limitations of current evidence and the small number of high-quality trials. There is a lack of evidence to support the use of quetiapine, ziprasidone or any other atypical antipsychotic for disruptive behaviour disorders in children and youths and no evidence for children under five years of age. It is uncertain to what degree the efficacy found in clinical trials will translate into real-life clinical practice. Given the effectiveness of parent-training interventions in the management of these disorders, and the somewhat equivocal evidence on the efficacy of medication, it is important not to use medication alone. This is consistent with current clinical guidelines.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 33 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 396 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Japan 1 <1%
United States 1 <1%
Australia 1 <1%
Unknown 393 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 60 15%
Researcher 59 15%
Student > Bachelor 47 12%
Student > Ph. D. Student 39 10%
Other 28 7%
Other 85 21%
Unknown 78 20%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 110 28%
Psychology 62 16%
Nursing and Health Professions 46 12%
Social Sciences 19 5%
Neuroscience 12 3%
Other 48 12%
Unknown 99 25%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 22. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 26 January 2020.
All research outputs
of 16,657,433 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,563 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 275,523 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 245 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 16,657,433 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 93rd percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,563 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 24.4. This one has done well, scoring higher than 76% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 275,523 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 90% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 245 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 62% of its contemporaries.